1. There is no entry fee. The contest is open to all students in grades 9 through 12 (including homeschooled students) in the 32 counties that constitute the Northern District of New York (i.e., Albany, Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren and Washington).
2. Each student must write a typed essay of up to 2,000 words exclusively about the origin of some aspect of the U.S. Constitution: specifically, one of the seven topics listed on this website's Topics page.* All essays must be the student's own work based exclusively on primary sources. All sources must be cited in a recognized system of citation. Each student may submit only one essay per annual contest. Students may not co-write an essay. Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification.
3.No reference to the student's name may appear on the essay but must appear on a title page, along with the student's grade level, school, home address, telephone number and any email address.
4. Essays may be submitted one of two ways: (a) as an email attachment in Word, Word Perfect or PDF format (not Google Docs or Mac Pages), along with the information specified above in Paragraph 3, to firstname.lastname@example.org; or (b) by regular U.S. Mail, along with the information specified above in Paragraph 3, to Michael G. Langan, Esq., Chambers of Hon. Glenn T. Suddaby, U.S. District Court, 100 South Clinton Street, Syracuse NY 13261.
5. The deadline for the essays is the end of Tuesday, February 12, 2019. No essays will be accepted after midnight. The Program is not responsible for any lost, misdirected or delayed entries. Entries received by fax or personal delivery will not be accepted.
6. Essays will be judged by a panel of three or more federal court judges based on clarity, factual support and persuasiveness, as determined by the judges in their discretion. All decisions are final. Each judges will evaluate the essays by ranking them, first to last. The rankings on each essay will then be tallied, and the essay with the lowest sum total will win, the essay with the second-lowest sum total receiving second place, etc.
7. Winners will be announced, and prize money will be awarded, by the Program Director. Prizes will be offered to high school students in each of two sections: one section for public high school students and the other section for private high school students. (Homeschooled students in grades 9 through 12 will compete in the section for private high school students.) The winner of first place in each section will receive $750; the winner of second place in each section will receive $300; the winner of third place in each section will receive $150; and the winner of honorable mention in each section will receive $50. Results will be announced on May 1, 2019. All winning entries become the non-exclusive property of the Program for one year following submission and may be published online and/or in print during that time period.
*The Program expresses no opinion about the appropriateness of the "original intent," "original understanding" and/or "original meaning" methods of constitutional interpretation as compared to other such methods, including the "living constitution" or "evolving constitution" method.